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A young startup named CardFlight just nabbed $4.2 million to grow its slice of the mobile point-of-sale market. Dan Henry and the Chicago-based MATH Venture Partners led this investment round.
CardFlight isn’t a point-of-sale system, though it offers one. Rather, it’s a kit that lets developers create their own customized point-of-sale system complete with a mobile chip card reader. The company has gained some traction as a solution for startups that need a flexible point of sale that can integrate with their existing online sales infrastructure. It counts tailored menswear purveyor Indochino and exercise bike Peloton as customers.
The difficulty these companies face is in bridging their online marketplaces and brick and mortar stores. For instance, Peloton originally intended to only sell its exercise bikes online.
“It was actually a very last minute decision to open a store, to showcase our bike,” said Yony Feng, chief technology officer and cofounder of Peloton. The company sells exercise bikes equipped with screens that offer consumers a group-class experience at home. Upon purchase, Peloton schedules a delivery time with the buyer and then delivers and assembles the 150-pound bike. The logistics of its white-glove service are all handled from within its custom sales system. The network also handles the sale of various accessories and subscription packages. When the company decided to offer showrooms, it had to figure out how to bring this same experience into a physical retail shop.
“We couldn’t use a point of sale platform end to end, because we already had an e-commerce platform,” said Feng. So the company developed its own point-of-sale system, and, as a result, was able to process in-store transactions through Stripe, the service it uses for its ecommerce shop.
The problem with many point-of-sale solutions is that they aren’t highly customizable. That sort of sales infrastructure is fine for retailers who are brick and mortar first, but not for those who require complex proprietary systems to make sales.
CardFlight offers both solutions. In addition to its developer kit and mobile chip card reader, the company has a mobile point-of-sale system called Swipe Simple — a competitor of Square. Through CardFlight, merchants are also free to use a variety of payment processors including First Data, Braintree, and Vantiv.
The adjustable nature of the platform has allowed CardFlight to sell white-label versions of its Swipe Simple point of sale to banks, who can then offer it to merchants they have relationships with, spreading its reach even further.
Now, with additional funding, the company plans to develop technology that allows its band of merchants to accept mobile payments like Apple Pay and Android Pay.
To date, CardFlight has raised a total of $6.5 million in investor funding.
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